Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Arles - Excursion to Saint-Remy de Provence

Friday 1 August
The first official day of the cruise and when we returned from breakfast our room had been cleaned and Angela had created a dog out of towels which was reclining on the bed.

The morning began with an excursion to Saint-Remy de Provence to visit the asylum of St Paul de Mausole where Vincent Van Gogh had lived from 1889-1890. But first the bus visited an olive farm where the processes of growing olives and preparing olive oil were explained.
Rows of olive trees with cypress in the background
The driveway to the olive farm was lined with a mass planting of petunias - very colourful.

At the carpark near the asylum of St Paul de Mausole we were surprised to find two Roman structures - a tall mausoleum and a highly decorated arch. These items were part of the Roman settlement of Glanum. These items have always been visible but other parts of the settlement have been excavated since 1921.

Detail of roof inside the arch
View of surrounding scenery from carpark
 Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) entered the asylum of St Paul de Mausole at Saint-Remy de Provence in May 1889 and during his stay, lasting a year, painted some of his most famous paintings.
Along the pathway to the asylum can be seen display boards depicting some of the artworks painted which living in this region. This painting of an olive grove is in front of a group of olive trees.
Copies of other works appear along the wall lining the driveway.
We were allowed to see inside part of the building, including the room where Van Gogh would have lived and then went out into the gardens at the back of the building.
The garden was divided into sections including this bed of lavender
and a bed of sunflowers.
Copies of Van Gogh's iconic paintings were also displayed along the garden walls.

On the way back to the ship we drove past the village of Les Baux de Provence set on top of a rocky outcrop in the Alpilles mountains.
The village is now primarily a tourist site but the site of the village has been a strategic settlement from before Roman times. Bauxite was mined in the area in the nineteenth century.

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